HTC’s rumored GoPro competitor is now official but as it turns out, the standalone camera isn’t taking aim at action sports enthusiasts. Instead, the oddly-named HTC RE is in a category by itself – a GoPro for the rest of us, if you will, that HTC is hoping people will opt to use instead of their smartphone.
Inside the periscope-shaped camera is a 1 2/3-inch CMOS sensor that can snap 16-megapixel images as well as 1080p video at 30fps or 720p slow-motion clips at 120fps. The RE uses an ultra-wide angle, 146-degree lens with a fixed focal length. It carries an IPX7 water and dust rating which can be improved to IPX8 through an optional waterproof cap.
The camera features a minimalist design. Much like the first generation Lytro camera, there’s no viewfinder or LCD display to see what you’re shooting or how it turned out.
Instead, you get a shutter button that can be pressed once to take a picture or long-pressed to record video and another button to toggle slow-motion / time lapse modes. There’s a microphone on the top as well as a speaker and LED indicator below the slow-motion button.
Interestingly enough, there isn't even a power button – the camera is always ready to go when you press the shutter button (so long as the battery is charged, of course). Sensors inside the camera detect when you pick it up which should prevent accidental images being captured when inside your pocket or purse.
The camera can connect to your Android or iOS device via Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi to perform tasks like backing up pictures and videos and changing camera settings. The app can also be used to turn your mobile device into a wireless viewfinder and shutter.
Storage needs are handled via microSD card that slots into the camera from the bottom beside the tripod / accessory mount. The RE comes equipped with an 8GB card although it’ll accept cards with capacities up to 128GB. It operates off an 820mAh battery that’s rated to capture up to 1,600 pictures or 100 minutes of continuous video recording.
Much like a GoPro, HTC is preparing a number of accessories for the RE including a charging station, head mount, suction cup mount and bike clip mount, just to name a few.
The HTC RE is available for pre-order as of writing and will ship later this month priced at $199. It could be a tough sell at that price, especially when you consider GoPro recently unveiled an entry-level camera priced at just $129.